Reader’s case: No graduation. No problem.


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When I looked through the suitcase in our inbox today, I noticed it straight away. In particular because of this sentence: “It can broaden the horizons of some readers and remove the stigma about craftsmen.”

As someone who has not been tutored under any circumstances, I should ever consider getting a certificate in a craft (apparently I might as well be a prostitute) or a job as a manual worker (since my father once worked in a factory), I find that a bit hypocritical, but you don’t interview a man who survived a famine and 10 years in a labor camp), this reader’s story blew my mind:

Hi Guys!

I am a big fan of your blog. I’ve been following it for a while now and it has put me on the right track for financial independence.

I have a case study that may be of interest to you. Given that I am probably one of the few manual workers who read your blog, this can broaden the horizons of some readers and remove the stigma about craftsmen.

I will give you a brief overview of how I came to my current situation. In the beginning I grew up in Ontario, Canada. I actually wanted to be an accountant, but my grandpa told me to finish a job so that I always have something to fall back on.

After high school, I moved to Alberta to complete my electrical training. I’ve worked mostly in Calgary and northern Alberta, usually with a 14/7 rotation. For those who don’t know, it basically means I would work 10-12 hours a day for 14 days with meals and accommodations paid for. I then spent my 7 days off in Banff or Lake Louise or took the occasional excursions south of the border like Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia etc. (I should really learn Spanish one day).

Anyway, after a couple of years I got a job in North Vancouver as it has always been a dream to live and work here. Based on my experience, I’m in a specialized position making something north of 200,000 a year. I believe simplicity is the key to investing. That’s why I’ve invested most of my savings in ETFs and set my pension on a 90/10 stock split. I also put a small portion in growth stocks like Tesla and Nio, which I’ve made sizeable profits on.

To be a little conservative, I’ll underestimate my income and overestimate my expenses.

Income: $ 200,000 / year

Monthly expenses: $ 1200 for rent, $ 500 for vehicle, $ 600 for groceries, $ 300 for miscellaneous items. Total of $ 2,600

Debt: ~ $ 11,000 on student loan, 2% interest. I could cash it off, but I’m making more interest on my current investments so I’m in no rush. $ 150 monthly payment.

Fixed assets: Mazda 3 has paid off. Considered a house to be built, but I’m holding back due to the insane market.

Investments: around 6,000 USD in cash, 51,000 USD TFSA, 35,000 USD RRSP, pension not certain but probably 12-13,000 USD

Given the current numbers, how long do you think it will take to meet my $ 1 million goal? Most of my employees are well on the way there and I feel like I still have a long way to go. I’m currently 27 and my goal is to get there by the age of 35.

Thanks for your consideration! I look forward to reading your future case studies. All the best


I have to admit, my eyes went blank when I saw BCF’s salary. Little did I know that as an individual you could make so much and not just that without a university degree. With that in mind, you actually have a much better return on your trading certificate than our engineering degrees because you spent a lot less on it. When it comes to the POT score (see Chapter 4 of Quit Like a Millionaire), you beat us.

Now let’s see if you can beat us up to early retirement.


Income:200,000 USD (gross), 144,658 USD + 27,830 USD (RRSP contribution) = 172,488 USD (net)
Expenditure:$ 2600 / month or $ 31,200 / year
Fault:$ 11,000 at 2% interest
Investable assets:6,000 USD (cash) + 51,000 USD (TFSA) + 35,000 USD (RRSP) + 12,000 USD (pension) = 104,000 USD

Wowza. If BCF gets their RRSPs to the max (our American readers, that’s the Canadian 401K) they’ll have an individual net income of $ 172,488 when they plug their numbers into the tax calculator, which is more than our COMBINED highest earnings year! And they are only 27 years old! I am impressed. Glad you listened to your grandpa BCF because the man is a genius!

With an annual spending ratio of $ 31,200 / year, BCF needs $ 31,200 * 25 = $ 780,000 to become financially independent.

With a savings rate of ($ 172,488- $ 31,200) / $ 172,488 = 81% (holy shit!), A net investable worth of $ 104,000, and a debt burden of $ 11,000, BCF FI will be in:

yearStartingContributionsROI (6%)total

Less than 5 years!

Since BCF is only 27 years old, BCF can retire at the ripe young age of just 31 years. That’s the same age I became FI and we’re TWO.

Given BCF’s goal of net worth of $ 1 million, let’s see how long it will take to hit this milestone:

yearStartingContributionsROI (6%)total

Less than 6 years! So BCF will have a net worth of $ 1 million by the age of 33. So yes, BCF, you should become a millionaire by 35 if you maximize your RRSPs and maintain your current spending level.

The fact that BCF can get to FI faster without a university degree calls into question everything I have ever been taught about the craft. So, contrary to my parents’ belief, becoming a worker isn’t like becoming a prostitute and you’re not going to die broke? Shocking.

I also agree with BCF that there is no point in paying off your student debt as the interest rate is only 2%. However, I want to point out to you that as you approach retirement, you should reconsider your 90/10 assignment as your runway is less than 5 years to retire. You will need this money to make a living and anything can happen in the next 5-6 years.

That’s it! What do you think of the history of BCF? Are you surprised that a cheaper trade certification can be a better investment than an expensive engineering degree?

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